FEAR

Arikir had fallen behind in the group. The entrance into the temple had taken him a moment to process. Every stone, every loose bit of rubble, the very air itself was thick with the force. It was if millions had fought, hated, loved, laughed, killed, and died within this temple.

He chuckled softly to himself at the stark difference to the temple as they made their way through the hallway and up the incline, keeping a hand to the walls and feeling it ripple around him.

He only regained his focus upon entering the chamber and his eyes went wide at the sight of everything. He was ready to throw himself fully into the ritual when the chorus struck him with lightening sending him to the floor as the voices shouted "FEAR"

The hit knocked the air from his lungs. As he raised his head he was no longer in the chamber, but on the main observatory on Ither. Looking around he saw his friends, the other Jedi there, assembled and seated in meditation as the hooded master stood at the end of the balcony, the wild jungle at their back.

When the hooded figure spoke it was not one voice but all of Arikir's masters combined to one chorus, "You have all come so far with your training, but there is still yet one more step for you to take." He came to attention and found against his will he had seated himself like his fellow students. It was only then that he realized what was about to occur. He tried to move but could not get off the floor, all he could do is listen as the master continued.

"The temple here holds many benefits that others do not. Notably the jungles of Ither hold many potent herbs. And with this they held up a small white ceramic pot and stepped forward to the first of the seated Jedi. "Clear your mind, suppress the wants of he world, and the force will provide."

He could feel those around him, their thoughts and emotions were quiet but present. He had hated that, how they all had begun to deny themselves the feelings and emotions that had made everyone so wonderful to observe and be around in the past. In this whole crowd he knew he was like a battleship amongst asteroids, but what as the master gripped the back for the head of the first Jedi and poured a strange white liquid from the pot into their mouth the small thoughts and emotions that flicked around them disappeared completely.

He knew exactly where, or perhaps rather when he was. All those years ago, he thought he had left this behind. Why was he back? And why couldn't he move? The master moved to the next student and then the next and like a wind blowing over flickering candles each light was quietly snuffed out.

Arikir fought to move, his adrenaline peaking and straining as hard as he could to move a muscle, to leave like he had before. He had to run and get away, he couldn't let that stillness, that silence overcome him. His heart raced and his mind put together ideas but nothing could make him move.

Eventually the master came to him and he felt the grip if their hand against the back of his head as he was forced to turn up to them. The sweat across his brow was streaming and mixing with a few years. He hears their voice say softly to him, "Peace Arikir, fear is but another weakness to be removed."

He whimpered and tried to force a plea from his lips but the liquid muted anything he might say. Slowly his vision began to fade and the room blurred and meshed into a darkness around him. One by one the other Jedi where overcome by the void and it slowly became his whole vision. He saw with terror as his own hands even began to be overcome by darkness only he didn't feel complete fear, it was dulled and near muted.

It was like screaming through a tube, and the hole was getting smaller. All his rage, anger, everything was slowly draining away. It was worse than dying, at least dying would allow him to be apart of the force, this was worse. The dulling of everything continued and his panic only grew.

But that registered as strange to him, he felt his fear. In fact it was all he could feel beyond the unending void of calm that wanted to overtake him. It was a void that was his worst fear, it was an end, it was THE end. He couldn't feel his heartbeat but he knew it had to be fast, his breathe just matching it. But no matter how much the calm tried to overcome him his fear would not abate. When all else was stripped his fear remained. It was his only respite and he clung to it.

But a thought occured to him, and he began to feed his fear. He thought not only of his own fate, but the fate of the galaxy under the Jedi boot. There would be nothing, and that could not be allowed. His fear grew as he remembered all of his friends, everyone a sparkling personality in a full order and how they had been snuffed out. His fear grew to anger as his masters, who had been all too happy to strip away everything that made them real, gave them a presence in the force. The flicker of a flame against the void grew larger and he could feel his heart race again. The anger surged around him and grew to hate. His hatred for the Jedi, for their puritanical folly and their crusade against all emotion and differing thought, the very fabric of the universe had to be bleached clean in their eyes and that made them the enemy of all peoples if only they could know of the beauty that the force could offer.

His eyes opened and he was back in the temple, but more importantly he was angry. Those around him now looked on with weapons drawn, but he cared not for he was a pillar of the force, the true force fed by emotion and life itself. They crumbled before him and his hatred for them only grew.

He felt his eyes open again, and he was back among the others. He did not remember bringing himself back to his feet, or why he was near crushing the lightsaber in his hand, but he was glad to have passed this vision and to have felt so strong after this.

A test to be sure, but also a strong but welcome lesson.

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